How to Deal With Overwhelm

As a mom with a full time job, a side hustle and a blog, the deadlines never stop.  As soon as I finish one, it’s on to the next, and to do lists never, ever get fully checked off.  Overwhelm is an emotion I feel on the daily, and I am sure many of you are with me.  This emotion doesn’t feel good and, recently, I have developed a bout of anxiety around it.  I’ve had to try to figure out a way to deal with this the emotion of overwhelm in a healthy way.  Some of these "hacks" are easier than others and I don’t claim that they work every time, but here are my five ways for dealing with feelings of overwhelm.  Hope you find this helpful.  

How To Deal With Overwhelm

1.     Make a list.  Occasionally making a list will overwhelm me more, but most of the time, when I make a detailed list of all my tasks to accomplish, prioritize and start cross things off, it feels great.  Maybe this is too type A for some, but I have recently started assigning times to each task, estimating how long I think it will take.  The act of simply organizing my thoughts and making a to-do list more often than not, helps relieve some anxiety.

2.     Invoke the Pomodoro Technique.  As a multi tasker with so many different things happening in my brain, jumping around from task to task is my natural way to go about things, but sometimes that seems like the best way to get a lot of things half way done.  Instead, I set the timer on my phone and say, work on a blog post for 45 minutes, before I move on to the next task, maybe 20 minutes of cleaning the house.  When I set an alarm, I am a lot more disciplined about not getting distracted by scrolling Instagram or checking emails.

3.     Find a light hearted podcast.  If you know me, chances are I’ve recommended a podcast (or five) to you.  Find a podcast that you listen to for pure entertainment value.  I love “Chris Loves Julia” and “Bachelorette Party.”  These podcasts help me two fold, I use them as a measure of time, similar to my trick in point 2, I can’t browse the internet, start chatting with a co-worker about “The Bachelorette” or scroll social media until the podcast is over.  Plus, the easy listening nature of these podcasts make them perfect for passing the time, while not getting too distracted from the task(s) at hand.

4.     Take a dance break.  Dancing always helps you feel good.  This one may not work in the office, but at home, when my brain starts to feel fried, I put on a good jam, and dance while doing something mindless that needs to get done, like sweeping, picking-up toys, or making lunch.

5.     Listen to episode 127 of “The Lively Show.”  I know, more about podcasts, but this specific episode is really helpful to me when addressing this very problem of overwhelm.   Jess works with Brooke Castillio of “The Life Coach School,” on how to change her thinking to combat feeling overwhelmed.  So this last point could also say, “change your thinking,” but most of us don’t just know how to do that, this podcast episode serves as the perfect how-to reminder for me. 

photo: from Oh Joy!